From the Locks to the Rocks

By Capt. Craig Hensel

What’s going on everyone? Captain Craig here with AWOL Fishing Charters. I hope all of you are able to get out and enjoy this month’s fishing because it has been on fire.

With all the wind, rain, water temperatures fluctuating, and water levels rising and falling it has had the fish scattered everywhere. Usually I go to locations I have marked on my Garmin, but these fish have been all over the place this month. I have ignored my electronics and popped in and out of new holes and have found some great fish.

Now this doesn’t mean that they’ll be there tomorrow, but it’s always good to go hunt for new territory and leave the honey holes alone every now and then. I’m not a community hole kind of fisherman; I like to put in the work to find new places on my days off. But this month I have a very special story I want to share.

Now I usually write about the Cape Fear River, but I received a call from the owner of Foust Heating and Air Conditioning a few days ago. Mike Foust wanted to go to a certain lake and do some bass fishing. This is one of our best kept secret locations, so for this article we will call it, “the lake.”

So Mike calls me while I’m out running errands (it was a bit breezy this day, so I took off to get some chores done), and he says, “I hear they’re wearing them out at the lake—lets go this afternoon. What time can you go?” I said, “I’ll pick you up in an hour.” “I will be ready,” he says. So I get back to the house and throw some tackle in the boat, grab some rods, put a splash of fuel in the tanks and I’m off to pick Mike up.

We drive an hour down the road and pull up at the lake around 3ish. When I pull up to the ramp there’s 5 kayakers putting in, so I kindly ask if they were going to be a while because they have to unload all their stuff from the trucks and put them into the kayaks. Be patient with the kayakers, folks; they have it a little harder than some of us with boats. But anyways they were nice enough to pull their trucks up and move their stuff to let us launch.

So I put the boat in, and the wind is blowing across the lake from the South at like 15knts. It was white capping at 1-2ft swells. That’s brutal for this lake. I looked at Mike and said, “This is definitely going to be a challenge for sure, but we should catch some fish.” I had no intentions on what was to come.

So we get into the throttle, and I go to a ledge I like to fish on a south wind. Not my favorite with its blowing 15knts, but we were going to make it work. The water was 72 degrees so I knew the smaller bass “should be” be on the beds. I am in no way, shape or form a bed fisherman. I just don’t like doing it for a number of reasons, and it’s not fun to me. But anyways, I pull up to this spot, drop the trolling motor, and I rig Mikes Rod with a Deep Creek Lures finesse worm.

First cast, Mike pulls in a 5lbs bass. So that’s got me thinking…ok great, the big females are here. We fished this ledge up and down for about two hours and landed over 60lbs of bass; the two biggest were 6lbs, and many were in the 4-5 pound range. The smallest fish we culled was 2.43Lbs.
It was an unbelievable day of fishing, one of those days we will talk about for years to come. For the conditions, it was incredible. Blue bird, high winds, but the wind was right and the water temps perfect.

Mike said it was one of the best fishing days of his life. He caught a lot of quality fish and made one heck of a memory. It meant the world to me to be able to put him on these fish. It was his day to shine for sure! We took a few pictures and videos and released all of them unharmed to be caught another day. If you’d like to see the video check it out on my social media platforms, which I will list below.

So guys and girls don’t let the weather deter you from fishing. Just because it’s raining, windy, cold, or blue bird with high pressure, don’t pass up a good day of potentially catching some of the best fish of your life. Safety above all of course, but if you can tough it out, do it! The results could be fantastic.

I hope all of you are out there ripping lips this month and getting prepared for those big post spawn females. Give me a shout if you’re wanting to get in on some of this action.

Until next time. Keep those lines tights and drags set. We will see you all on the next one. Capt. Craig. Facebook: AWOL Fishing Charters, Tik Tok: AWOL Fishing Charters, Youtube: AWOL Fishing

Captain Craig Hensel, AWOL Fishing Charters with Capt. Craig Inc. – 910-916-3138